Eastern Wake News

East Wake work group completes recommendations for school board

About 25 members of the East Wake Area Education Work Group reviewed a slew of recommendations for improving East Wake High School and the schools that feed into it.

The draft report is the result of seven months worth of work by school system administrators, principals, teachers and community members.

Area superintendent Dr. Edward McFarland said a few tweaks will be made to the document before it is presented to the Wake County Board of Education next month, but he was pleased with the work turned in by more than 80 educators, parents and community members since the group began meeting in March.

“What’s really exciting is that this has been a collaborative process. Many of the recommendations you’ve given us match up nicely with Wake County’s strategic plan,” McFarland said.

The recommendations centered on five major areas, including achievement, teaching and learning, improving the school environment, growing community support and increasing resources.

Each of those broad categories included a handful of specific recommendations for improvement.

Among the strategies put forward by the committee is the idea of creating an education foundation to provide support for teachers and students. McFarland said he has already been in touch with Linda Johnson, the executive director of the East Wake Education Foundation and her board members about expanding the role of that organization, which currently only serves preschool age children.

“She was excited about the idea,” McFarland said Thursday after the meeting closed. “We got a positive reaction when we talked with Linda and her board.”

Work group members listened to a 30-minute presentation from Dr. Cathy Williams, the retired principal at East Garner Middle School and a board member of the Garner Education Foundation about how that organization is set up and the services it provides.

Other recommendations call for improvements that may be beyond the local school system’s control, such as raising teacher salaries to the national average and providing Internet access to every home in eastern Wake County.

Other suggestions, though, could get close scrutiny from the school board, including a call to increase community partnerships between the schools and businesses and organizations in the eastern Wake County area, improve professional development opportunities for teachers and hiring a technology liaison to advocate for the technology needs of schools in Wendell and Zebulon.

The East Wake Area Education Work Group is modeled after a similar group that recently completed its own study of Knightdale area schools. Following that group’s report, Knightdale High School established a new career academy model and East Wake Middle School is now the subject of renovations discussions by school board members.

Johnny Whitfield: 919-829-4823, @_JWhitfield